We don’t do too many book reviews on this site, mainly as it takes longer to plough through a few thousand words than it does to wallow in a gig or sink into a good album for a few listens. However, we got sent this one some time before publication date and it sat on my Kindle app, keeping me company between sets at shows for a while.
The premise is simple: Mr Philpott takes umbrage at a band’s lyrics. He emails or writes to them. In a staggering number of instances, they write back. This book details those conversations, including the ones where they don’t respond. While there are tons of artists who wouldn’t fit into our site’s remit, there are plenty who do – and there are giggles throughout. According to the author himself, the rock and metal acts featured within are Roger Glover from Deep Purple, KK Downing, Starship, Thunder, The Ruts, DEVO, Ian Gillan, Spinal Tap, Mott The Hoople, Saxon, Eddie & The Hot Rods, It Bites, Suzi Quatro, Electric Prunes, The Waitresses, Bauhaus, The Knack and The Skids. Trust me, there are many more if you’re generous with your usage of the term “rock”. And the pop ones are worth a read as well.
And there are hundreds. If I have one issue with the book, it’s that it’s too long. There are enough letters here to split it into two volumes. Having said that, I can see this as a book you’d dip into rather than read like a novel.
What I enjoyed the most while flicking through the e-pages was how much effort some of the respondents took. A handful are pages in length, though many of these are notably from bands who perhaps peaked a couple of decades ago and who seem to be glad that someone is still paying attention to their output. But they’re right into the spirit of things. They know this guy is taking the piss, so they up the ante. There are very few, if any, “seriously, what are you on?” replies and some of the household names who’ve taken the time to get in on the joke are impressive, to say the least.
To top it all off, there are even some opportunities to learn a little more about the genuine background to popular songs, as the artists explain where the lyrics actually came from. In some cases. In others, the tales they make up are even more blown out of proportion than the author’s own initial quibbles!
As we head into the silly season I think I shall finish this review in agreement with Mr Philpott’s correction of Wizzard’s classic “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day”. Snowmen do not, indeed “bring” the snow. They are, in fact, constructed from said material. Seriously. And Roy & co didn’t even take the time to reply.
Dear Mr Pop Star is out now in hardback and Kindle versions